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Tri State Alliance for Regional Development News

Alliance Leaders Agree to Develop Manufacturing Innovation Park

In its review of the Chicago Metropolitan Tri-State Region, the Organization for Economic Cooperation (OECD) stressed the importance of manufacturing to the tri-state economy. “Manufacturing remains a significant employer in the region,11.4% of total employment in 2010 […] and one of the industries in which Chicago’s metro-region is specialized. The resilience of manufacturing activities in Chicago’s metro-region reflects the importance of high value-added manufacturing in the region [and] also the historical relevance of Chicago’s manufacturing for the rest of the nation.”

One of the most important factors to ensuring the strength of the region’s manufacturing sector is human capital. “At issue are the challenges associated with matching skills supply to demand, coupled with ensuring that businesses in the main legacy manufacturing sectors innovate to a degree that their skills needs match those of their counterparts across the country. Additionally, training service providers are not sufficiently coordinating curricula and training services offerings to meet business needs in the emerging innovation-driven clusters.” To begin to resolve the skills matching issue the three chairmen of the Alliance for Regional Development signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Center for Labor and Community Research to cooperate on the development of an Innovation Park model.

The MOU expresses the Alliance’s commitment to the development of the Austin Innovation District; a project that seeks to meet the workforce and innovation needs of advanced manufacturers by providing a continuum of skills and research from high school through graduate school. The Austin Innovation District is a new development project on the West Side of Chicago that will bring skilled workforce and world-class research partners together with advanced manufacturing businesses while simultaneously spurring community and workforce development.

The Innovation District will develop a more skilled advanced manufacturing workforce while also aiding in the resolution of the jobs/skills mismatch described in the OECD Report. The Alliance plans to support the replication of this model throughout the tri-state region.


Last Updated on 2013-02-12 15:41:35.414

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